The "Sunscreen Contouring" Hack Is All Over TikTok, but It Could Have Dangerous Consequences

We say it all the time: social media has become a great starting point for discovering new beauty products, tips, and tricks that have been vetted and tested by the masses and can potentially help transform your beauty and skin-care routines for the better. That said, not every hack that we come across on the app has the approval of dermatologists, and one new trick in particular that's popped up on TikTok serves as a great reminder of the dangers that taking skin-care advice from those who aren't licensed or experts can pose.

The newest trend that's taken over the app is called "sunscreen contouring," and considering how essential sunscreen is to our skin's health, it may sound harmless — but according to New York City-based dermatologist Michelle Henry, MD, the trick can put you at risk of developing skin cancer.

"Sunscreen contouring is the act of not applying sunscreen and encouraging excess sun exposure on areas of the face one wants to darken to give a 'natural' contouring effect," Dr. Henry explained. "UV is a known carcinogen and not a natural source of contouring the skin. It could inevitably cause skin cancer."

Sunscreen doesn't just prevent skin cancer; it can also help prevent premature aging. If you're already someone who wears sunscreen daily (even if you're indoors), then you're on the right track. Just make sure you're always applying the right amount correctly.

"Apply sunscreen to your full face — about a nickel-sized amount of product to ensure adequate coverage," Dr. Henry said. "Don't forget your ears or under your chin. Reapply every two hours using an elegant lightweight sunscreen over the entire face to both protect the skin and hydrate it."